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CAMEL

Symphonic Prog • United Kingdom


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Camel biography
The roots of CAMEL go as far as 1964, when the Latimer brothers Andrew and Bryan form part of a band called THE PHANTOM FOUR, after gaining some fame, the band changes their name to STRANGE BREW, a when the bass player Graham Cooper reaches the band. But things were about to change, Ian Latimer and Cooper leave the band and Doug Ferguson joins.

At this point drummer Andrew Ward joins the crew and the seeds were growing in this new Blues oriented band called simply THE BREW, and at last in 1971 with the arrival of keyboardist Peter Bardens CAMEL is officially born.

In their first period CAMEL releases four albums, the self titled debut, which was received with limited enthusiasm by the public, which lead to the change of label from MCA (Who didn't wanted to take risks) to Decca, with whom they stayed for 10 years.

Followed by "Mirage", Snow Goose" and "Moonmadness" (for many their essential trilogy), during the latest album tour, the saxophonist and flute player Mel Collins joins and leads CAMEL to a first radical change in the sound, as well as in the formation because Doug Ferguson is replaced by the Ex CARAVAN bass player Richard Sinclair.

With this formation CAMEL releases two albums, "Rain Dances and "Breathless", which marks for many the end of CAMEL'S golden era mainly because Pete Bardens leaves the band and the next release "I Can See Your House From Here" is considered inferior to the previous releases by the critic.

From this point the lineups constantly changes but the band still releases seven more albums received with different degrees of acceptance, until the last studio album "A Nod And a Wink" sees the light in 2002 (the same year Pete Bardens passes away) completing a large discography of 14 studio releases, 9 live albums, 7 DVD's and several box sets .

Maybe because their style is softer than most of the pioneer bands with atmospheric and light Space Rock overtones their fanbase is not as huge as the ones of the coetaneous and more aggressive bands such as GENESIS (Who in my opinion influenced CAMEL), YES or KING CRIMSON, but CAMEL is without doubt among the most respected groups, and the Latimer - Bardens duo is considered one of the most creative compositional teams.

If I had to choose one album from their prolific discography, my choice would be "Moonmadness" but others such as "Snow Goose" or "Mirage" are beloved by those who love good music.

An excellent band for people who l...
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Camel- MirageCamel- Mirage
Import · Remastered
Universal I.S. 2002
Audio CD$3.09
$3.00 (used)
The Snow GooseThe Snow Goose
Import · Remastered
Polygram UK 2002
Audio CD$3.98
$3.98 (used)
MoonmadnessMoonmadness
Import · Remastered
Polygram UK 2002
Audio CD$3.64
$3.38 (used)
CamelCamel
Import · Remastered
MSI:UNIVERSAL/UM3 2002
Audio CD$3.77
$3.76 (used)
A Live RecordA Live Record
Import · Remastered
Universal 2002
Audio CD$8.35
$11.95 (used)
Rain DancesRain Dances
Remastered · Extra tracks
Decca 2009
Audio CD$4.08
$2.87 (used)
Rainbow's End - A Camel Anthology 1973-1985 [4 CD Box Set]Rainbow's End - A Camel Anthology 1973-1985 [4 CD Box Set]
Box set · Import · Remastered
INgrooves Fontana/UMe Imports 2010
Audio CD$27.29
$14.49 (used)
The Snow Goose [2 CD Deluxe Edition]The Snow Goose [2 CD Deluxe Edition]
Import
INgrooves Fontana/UMe Imports 2009
Audio CD$11.33
$19.73 (used)
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10h 20m
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CAMEL discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

CAMEL top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.95 | 1030 ratings
Camel
1973
4.39 | 2093 ratings
Mirage
1974
4.28 | 1835 ratings
The Snow Goose
1975
4.38 | 1808 ratings
Moonmadness
1976
3.58 | 748 ratings
Rain Dances
1977
3.13 | 618 ratings
Breathless
1978
2.83 | 540 ratings
I Can See Your House From Here
1979
3.60 | 599 ratings
Nude
1981
2.58 | 392 ratings
The Single Factor
1982
3.38 | 557 ratings
Stationary Traveller
1984
3.66 | 409 ratings
Dust And Dreams
1991
3.73 | 490 ratings
Harbour Of Tears
1996
4.04 | 690 ratings
Rajaz
1999
3.94 | 566 ratings
A Nod And A Wink
2002
4.21 | 425 ratings
The Snow Goose (Re-recording)
2013

CAMEL Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.31 | 336 ratings
A Live Record
1978
3.30 | 135 ratings
Pressure Points
1984
3.62 | 96 ratings
Camel On The Road 1972
1992
4.44 | 137 ratings
Never Let Go
1993
2.38 | 57 ratings
Camel On The Road 1982
1994
3.31 | 54 ratings
Camel On The Road 1981
1997
4.26 | 112 ratings
Coming Of Age
1998
3.83 | 55 ratings
Camel 73 - 75 Gods of Light
2000
3.55 | 64 ratings
The Paris Collection
2001

CAMEL Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

2.48 | 36 ratings
Pressure Points - Live in Concert
1984
4.52 | 98 ratings
Coming Of Age (DVD)
1998
2.91 | 22 ratings
Curriculum Vitae
2003
3.89 | 35 ratings
Footage
2004
3.80 | 27 ratings
Footage II
2005
4.02 | 35 ratings
Total Pressure (DVD)
2007
3.99 | 47 ratings
Moondances
2007
4.34 | 67 ratings
The Opening Farewell - Live At The Catalyst (DVD)
2010
4.05 | 24 ratings
In From The Cold
2014

CAMEL Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

1.52 | 9 ratings
Chameleon (Best Of Camel)
1981
3.28 | 16 ratings
The Collection
1985
3.74 | 27 ratings
A Compact Compilation
1985
2.40 | 7 ratings
Landscapes
1991
3.46 | 49 ratings
Echoes
1993
2.09 | 8 ratings
Camel (25th Anniversary Compilation)
1997
4.09 | 31 ratings
Lunar Sea - An Anthology 1973-1985
2001
4.01 | 30 ratings
Rainbow's End - A Camel Anthology 1973 - 1985
2010

CAMEL Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

4.63 | 24 ratings
Never Let Go
1973
5.00 | 3 ratings
The Snow Goose
1975
5.00 | 2 ratings
Flight Of The Snow Goose
1975
4.59 | 22 ratings
Another Night
1976
3.44 | 13 ratings
Highways of the Sun
1977
4.00 | 2 ratings
Breathless
1978
4.00 | 1 ratings
Your Love Is Stranger Than Mine
1979
0.00 | 0 ratings
Some Exerpts From The New Camel Album
1979
0.00 | 0 ratings
Remote Romance
1979
0.00 | 0 ratings
Remote Romance (German Version)
1979
0.00 | 0 ratings
Camel In Concert No.250
1981
5.00 | 1 ratings
Lies
1981
4.00 | 1 ratings
No Easy Answer
1982
4.00 | 1 ratings
Selva
1982
0.00 | 0 ratings
Cloak And Dagger Man
1984
3.00 | 2 ratings
Long Goodbyes
1984
0.00 | 0 ratings
Berlin Occidental (West Berlin)
1984
0.00 | 0 ratings
Lies (Promo Single)
1984
5.00 | 2 ratings
Captured
1986
4.86 | 18 ratings
Never Let Go
2002

CAMEL Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Mirage by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1974
4.39 | 2093 ratings

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Mirage
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead

5 stars Review N 55

Sincerely, I always considered that Camel is an underrated progressive band among the greatest bands of the 70's. Probably it was mainly due to the Andrew Latimer's voice. Latimer is the main vocalist of the band despite that is true that he never was a true vocalist and that he has a very strong and deep voice. Still, Latimer always knew it, and because of that, many of Camel's songs are mainly instrumentals. This was one of the things that made of Camel a truly unique band in the progressive rock scene. On the other hand, he was never considered one of the greatest guitarists of the 70's, which is, in my humble opinion, very unfair. Probably, he isn't one of the most virtuous guitarists, but he is, for sure, a guitarist who knows very well how to create a unique and unmistakable sound with his guitar. His guitar style is still appreciated by many other guitarists, even in our days, like Mikael Akerfeldt of Opeth.

And now, a curious story about Camel and "Mirage". Camel was involved in some controversy with the American brand of Camel cigarettes. We can clearly see the similarities between the album cover of "Mirage" and a pack of Camel cigarettes. As the peak period of the advertisement of the brand cigarettes, that had a picture of a camel smoking, coincided with the peak period of the release of "Mirage", the album was boycotted by some anti- smokers.

"Mirage" is the Camel's second studio album and was released in 1974. It became as one of the group's most acclaimed albums. "Mirage" is probably the album that best illustrates the main features of the band, already mentioned by me above, which are undoubtedly, quality, simplicity and beauty. This is the album where Camel begins to develop their own distinctive sound with some intricate rhythms and the wonderful and unpredictable instrumental exchanges made by the two mainly songwriters of the band Latimer and Peter Bardens.

"Mirage" has five tracks. The first track "Freefall" written by Bardens is almost an instrumental song largely dominated by the Latimer's guitar and with nice musical moments performed by Bardens' keyboards, very well supported by an inventive bass and a dynamic drumming work. This song is influenced by diverse styles of music and the melody is excellent. The second track "Supertwister", also written by Bardens, is the nice and most peaceful song on the album. It's a great instrumental track partially dominated by a great flute work of Latimer. With this song, Latimer proved that he is a great flute player too. The third track "Nimrodel/The Procession/The White Rider" written by Latimer is one of the two multi-part epic songs on the album. This song is based on the book "The Lord Of The Rings" written by J. R. R. Tolkien. This is one of the best songs on the album with its frequent time changes and musical soundscapes, which carries the theme to an exceptional symphonic climax by the band. The fourth track "Earthrise" written by Latimer and Bardens is a very nice instrumental track with a frenetic middle section with Latimer's guitar and Bardens' keyboards. It's the second instrumental track of the album and it's probably one of the best and finest instrumentals ever made by them. The fifth track "Lady Fantasy" is divided into three parts: "Encounter", "Smiles For You" and "Lady Fantasy". It's the only track written by all band members and represents the other multi-part epic song of the album. Usually, this is the most celebrated song on this album and one of the most famous songs released by Camel. This track contains one of the most progressive songs made by them and is a very good example why Camel is one of the best and most respected bands in the progressive rock universe. Here we can clearly see how Camel has influenced Akerfeldt.

Conclusion: In my humble opinion, "Mirage" is with "The Snow Goose" and "Moonmadness" the three greatest masterpieces from the group. But, despite I choose in the first place "Moonmadness" followed by "The Snow Goose", I consider "Mirage" the most simple, pure, nave and unpretentious of all Camel's studio albums. It might be even its best work. Every moment of every song on "Mirage" is to be treasured and every musical note is perfectly placed. The album is composed of two epics, but the seamless track flow, unifying theme, and harmonious sound, all make the album feel like a real masterpiece. The album showcases an uncanny ability for melody, in which the songs with no lyrics or words to them will have you creating stories in your own mind to fit the real mood. "Mirage" is an essential progressive rock classic album. With also the releases of "The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway" of Genesis, "Relayer" of Yes, "Red" of King Crimson and "The Power And The Glory" of Gentle Giant, only to mention some of the most important progressive musical releases in 1974, this was undoubtedly an amazing year for the progressive rock music. With "Mirage", Camel becomes one of the greatest and most respected progressive rock groups. If you really like of good progressive music and you don't have this album yet, do yourself a favour and get "Mirage" as soon as possible.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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 A Live Record by CAMEL album cover Live, 1978
4.31 | 336 ratings

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A Live Record
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by VianaProghead

5 stars Review N 47

'A Live Record' is the debut live album of Camel and was released in 1978. It was originally released as a double vinyl disk with recordings taken from three different live tours of the group.

The first disk, features recordings taken from their second studio album 'Mirage' released in 1974, when they toured the album and from their fifth studio album 'Rain Dances' released in 1977 when they toured this album too. The first track 'Never Let Go' originally recorded on Camel in 1973 and the second track 'Song Within A Song' originally recorded on 'Moonmadness' in 1976, were recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon, London, in October 1977 and were taken from the 'Rain Dances' live tour. The third track 'Lunar Sea' also originally recorded on 'Moonmadness' was recorded at the Colston Hall, Bristol in October 1977 and was also taken from the 'Rain Dances' live tour. The fourth track 'Skylines' originally recorded on 'Rain Dances' in 1977 was recorded at Leeds University, Leeds, also in October 1977, and was also taken from the 'Rain Dances' live tour. The fifth track 'Ligging At Louis' is a live version of an instrumental song originally composed by Peter Bardens but unreleased on any Camel's studio album and the sixth track 'Lady Fantasy: Encounter/Smiles For You/Lady Fantasy' originally a song recorded on 'Mirage' in 1974, were recorded at the Marquee Club, London in 1974. The second disk is devoted to a complete live performance of the band's instrumental conceptual album 'The Snow Goose' released in 1975, during the live tour of the album made in 1975 and was performed with the London Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

The line up of Camel on this live album is Andrew Latimer (lead vocals, guitars and flutes), Peter Bardens (keyboards), Doug Fergusson (bass), Andy Ward (drums and percussion), Mel Collins (saxophones and flute) and Richard Sinclair (vocals and bass). Sinclair, an ex-member of Caravan, replaced Doug Fergusson who was the original bassist and founding member of the band that left Camel in the early of 1977, after the release of the band's fourth studio album, 'Moonmadness'. Collins joined the group at the same time of Sinclair and both participated on the Camel's fifth studio album 'Rain Dances' as band members. Given the recording sessions correspond to different years in different stages, between 1974 and 1977, and the group had two different bass players, Sinclair plays on tracks one, two, three and four of the first CD and Fergusson plays on tracks five and six of the same CD and throughout all the second CD. Collins plays on the same tracks that Sinclair plays, namely on tracks one, two, three and four of the first CD.

About the performance, the album opens with 'Never Let Go' that sounds completely different from the original version from their debut. This one is a lot jazzier and is probably how it would have sounded if it had been written and recorded to 'Rain Dances'. Definitely interesting, it's no substitute for the superior original. 'Song Within a Song' and 'Lunar Sea' are performed very similar to the studio versions, despite the inclusion of Collins. 'Ligging At Louis' is a good jam despite wasn't be found on any of their other albums. 'Lady Fantasy' sounds, in my opinion and unfortunately, rather tame and a bit uninspired compared to the much more powerful studio version. However, it remains a great version. Then we go a few years back in time to hear the band perform the then brand new 'The Snow Goose'. It's overall a good performance with a few interesting differences from the original, such as the additional solo on 'Migration' and the theme on 'Flight Of The Snow Goose' being played on organ instead of synthesizer.

Conclusion: This Camel live album certainly shows the band's strength on stage during the early years of the group. As I wrote before, it's not a recording of one single concert but a selection from several. It was released shortly after the launch of 'Rain Dances' and the record label didn't wish interfere with the studio album sales. So, they reduced the number of tracks to be included from the 'Rain Dances' live tour. The second CD is 'The Snow Goose' performed entirely with the backing of The London Symphonic Orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall. And what a fabulous rendition it is. It just gives to the piece a whole new dimension sound. I must say that 'The Snow Goose' is one of my favourite albums of the group, and this live version is, in my humble opinion, even better than the version on the original studio album. 'A Live Record' is a brilliant live album, by one of the most brilliant bands of the 70's. It's one of the best live albums I've ever heard, and isn't less inferior to other great live albums from some other great bands, of the 70's. If you want to feel the power and the strength of Camel on live, you must get this album and I would certainly recommend it to everyone. This album would make a great starting point to anyone who wishes to listen to Camel for the first time. The production is warm and clear and it serves as a great representation of their classic early musical period.

Prog is my Ferrari. Jem Godfrey (Frost*)

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 The Snow Goose by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.28 | 1835 ratings

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The Snow Goose
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

5 stars "Music inspired by The Snow Goose", Paul Gallico's book. That is how this album was presented in its cover. Maybe Gallico didn't want his most successful and famous book to be directly associated with some music composed by any Rock band. I don't know why this happened then. But maybe this musical association with his book could have helped him to sell even more books. Anyway, he died in 1976. I never have read none of his books, and it was only because the music of this album was inspired by his most successful and famous book that I knew about him. I also realized that other of his books was used (with his permission) to make a film, "The Poseidon's Adventure", in 1972. It was a very successful film, and I saw it, but I realized a lot of time later that that book was also written by him. Maybe he didn't trust Rock bands or he didn't like Rock music, or he thought that his most successful and famous book wasn't going to be treated with respect or that it was going to be associated with a bad musical project. In my opinion, this didn't happen.

This is an album without lyrics (due to Gallico's oposition), consisting only of instrumental music, apart from some wordless vocals in some parts of the album. With very good Progressive Music arrangements, influenced by Classical Music, and with some orchestral arrangements by David Bedford, which work very well, this album is a very enjoyable listening experience. It really works very well as a "musical narration". Very melodic. Some musical themes re-appear in some parts of the album. Maybe some of the synthesisers's sounds sound a bit dated now, but the arrangements are very good. Some of the best parts of this album are the songs titled as "Rhayader", "Rhayader Goes to Town" and "La Princesse Perdue".

A very good album from CAMEL, recorded and released fourty years ago, which deserves a five stars rating from me.

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 Echoes by CAMEL album cover Boxset/Compilation, 1993
3.46 | 49 ratings

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Echoes
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Ghost_of_Prog

3 stars The goal of any sort of greatest hit and compilations album is to introduce listeners to a band where they are simultaneously pleased with what is presented and are given a hunger to experience more. So does Echoes, this humble little compilation of a band that was swept up under larger contemporaries during their hey days, accomplish that task. Well, I now own multiple Camel albums, so.....

Spanning from their self-titled debut album to Dust and Dreams, this compilation features a wide range of song styles to wet the palette of anyone interested. Now Camel lacks the adventurous nature of King Crimson or Pink Floyd or the symphonic landscapes of Genesis and Yes, but carves its own little corner in the community with Andrew Latimer's deceptively simple yet emotional guitar playing combined with other talented musicians joining his side.

So what of the songs chosen? The classic Never Let Go with its beautiful, quiet opening transitioning into a symphonic-jazz rock song, gives newcomers a taste of what's to come. Other Camel greats such as Lady Fantasy, Lunar Sea, Echoes, Ice, and Sasquatch make an appearance to lure those willing or unwary to search deeper into their archives.

Of course this compilation is not without its problems. A general problem is that Camel never really had any "hits" (with the exception of the first song), so the choice of material is left up to the bias of the one doing the cherry-picking. For example, Rhayader (Goes to Town), are instrumental excerpts taken from their album, The Snow Goose, which sound out of place when not listened in their proper context. The situation is similar to the final two tracks on disc 2, which are from the concept album Dust and Dreams. In hindsight, while I wished songs like Arubaluba, Chord Change, Rain Dances, etc. made an appearance, the selection is generally very good. However, their selection from the album Stationary Traveller simply baffles me. The two songs chosen (Refugee and West Berlin) are styled after 80's pop, a style they swiftly abandoned. However, the two songs that represent Camel's style the best (the title track and Long Goodbyes) are absent. Two potential slots on the compilation wasted. Oh well, it did its job, since I wouldn't have known about those two tracks if I never listened and peeked around.

Three stars. A good entry into the band, but odd choices bump it down to three stars.

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 The Snow Goose by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1975
4.28 | 1835 ratings

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The Snow Goose
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Quinino

5 stars My ALL-TIME Greatest #23

I first listened to this album at a friend's home after school, with great anticipation because he had already announced our circle that the music was something out of this world.
And surely it was: what an immediate wonder right from the start, marvelous notes coming from the speakers, transporting us on a dream trip, exploring sounds never heard before to humankind.

Global Appraisal

In '75 this concept album was really an achievement, a significant artistic step ahead on the search for new forms of musical expression
The plenty odd sounds from synthesizers, pipe organ, slide guitar, vibes, beyond the usual classical rock instrumentation (although for sure not an absolute innovation even in Camel discography, see the excellent albums that precede and follow this one), are meaningfully used on behalf of a dreamy sound-scape that permeates the whole record, resulting in a wordless narrative full of tasteful melodies.

Goodies

Peter Bardens and Andy Latimer, the dual driving force behind 70's Camel, perform their best work together; PB would leave in 1978 and the band will never be the same, only regaining peak-form two decades later with a very different sound and under the guidance of AL by himself.

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 The Single Factor by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1982
2.58 | 392 ratings

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The Single Factor
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

3 stars After their tour for their "Nude" album in 1981, original drummer Andy Ward left the band due to personal and health problems. So, guitarist Andy Latimer found himself as the only original member who still was in the band. And while he still waited for a time for Ward to recover his health to return to the band (a thing that did not happened even if Ward later found the right medical treatment), he also found that the band still had a recording contract, with the record label waiting for a new album. But the record label's pressures had a new thing: "we want Pop Rock Hit Singles for the eighties". So, Latimer had to record a new album with this idea in mind to satisfy his "employers". So, Latimer went to Abbey Road Studios to record this album in early 1982, and there, working in another studio, he met some of the members of THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT (Chris Rainbow, David Paton). That band was also recording an album there. So, Rainbow and Paton were asked to participate in this "The Single Factor" album, in fact influencing the sound of some songs that sound a bit like "CAMEL meets THE ALAN PARSONS PROJECT" (but without Alan Parsons's production and recording engineering). In fact, this album is more like a forced solo album from Latimer, recorded and released more as a contract obligation to the record label. He invited other friends and session musicians to record this album.

Is this album bad? No. While it clearly shows in some parts that Latimer was trying too hard to compose and to record commercial Pop Rock songs to please the record label, the album as a whole has some quality, with his guitar playing being very good. The most obvious commercial Pop Rock songs are "No Easy Answer", "You Are the One" and "Heroes". The rest of the songs still have some influences from CAMEL's "old" Prog Rock style, with the best of them being "Selva", "Lullaby", "Sasquatch" (the best of all the songs in this album, and recorded with former CAMEL's original keyboard player Peter Bardens, former GENESIS's guitarist Anthony Phillips playing a 12 string guitar, very good drums by session player Simon Phillips, and bass played by David Paton), and "A Heart Desire / End Peace", with very good vocals arrangements by Rainbow. "Manic" sounds like a Hard Rock song with very good guitars. "Today's Goodbyes" has very good vocals arrangements from David Paton, Chris Rainbow and Andy Latimer, with also good guitars from Latimer. "Today''s Goodbyes" and "Camelogue" sound to me like a bit influenced by FOREIGNER's music and sound.

The eighites were hard times for some Progressive Rock bands like CAMEL, with them trying to please their record labels "new musical ideas for the new decade". This led to CAMEL to finally end their relationship with that record label in 1985, and to try to survive making the music they liked in an more independent way. A harder way to follow, but maybe more satisfying for themselves in musical terms.

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 Total Pressure (DVD) by CAMEL album cover DVD/Video, 2007
4.02 | 35 ratings

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Total Pressure (DVD)
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Guillermo
Prog Reviewer

4 stars During CAMEL's 1984 Tour for the promotion of their "Stationary Traveller" album, it was decided to record a live album (which in late 1984 was released as "Pressure Points - Camel Live in Concert") and also to record a concert video for a TV appearance. So, one concert in London's Hammersmith Odeon was selected to do both things. This happened in 11- May-1984. The video was also later released under the "Pressure Points - Camel Live in Concert" title, but with both releases having some differences in the inclusion or exclusion of some songs and with both not including all the songs (I think so) which were played at the concert. In their official website, the information about this says that there were some problems with the use of lights during the video recording of the concert, so at that time some songs had to be ommited from the video version. The first video version was also released in VHS videocassette (and on DVD some years ago), with the addition of some "conceptual video" scenes for all the songs which were played from their "Stationary Traveller" album, an album which is a conceptual album about West Berlin and East Berlin during the Cold War period. All of the "conceptual video" scenes were not liked by some people (incluiding myself) because they were done like "telenovela" ("soap opera") scenes in a very cardboard way. That "telenovela" scenes really marred that video version of this concert, being very intrusive to the viewers who only wanted to see the band playing the songs in concert. I think that it was a very bad decision to include those "telenovela" scenes then. But fortunately, that was corrected with the new release of this concert video on DVD titled "Total Pressure", which doesn't include those "telenovela" scenes anymore, and which also includes all the songs (I think so) that were played at the concert, with a much better quality in images and sound. (The live album version was also expanded with some additional songs when it was re-issued on CD some years ago, but still under the "Pressure Points - Camel Live in Concert" title). Unfortunately, the bad direction of cameras couldn't be corrected, so one still has to watch to some members of the band while one or two of the other members of the band are playing very good solos, without the cameras being focused in the members who play the solos. This particularly happens very often when keyboard players Ton Scherpenzeel and Richie Close play very good keyboard solos, and the cameras are focused instead in the members who are at the front of the stage (Colin Bass, Andy Latimer, Paul Burgess and Chris Rainbow). It seems that the Video Director didn't have enough time to know the band's repertoire to really know at which time which member was going to play a solo to focus at least one of the cameras in that member. After all, it was done for a TV appearance and maybe was done without the band being very involved in the design of the making of the video. Maybe it could have been better to do at least one rehearsal with the video camera crew before the concert. But it seems that it wasn't done that way and that the video was recorded live with the Video Director simply giving orders to the camera crew as the concert was played and recorded and that there really wasn't very much post-recording editing done to the video, at least in the selection of the best camera angles.

Anyway, despite all these problems, this concert video is very good. At least, the quality of the images and sound was improved a lot thanks to the use of some technology, and the inclusion of additional songs was a very good idea. For example, songs like "Drafted", "Captured", "Lies", "La Princesse Perdue", "Unevensong", "Never Let Go" and "Hymn to Her" were included in this new version. And one can watch to all the songs they played from their "Stationary Traveller" album as they really were played in the concert. Fortunately, at least some very good keyboard solos played by Close and Scherpenzeel were caught by the cameras in songs like "Lies" (with Close playing a solo) and with Scherpenzeel and him sharing keyboard solos in other songs. There is also a guest appearance on Hammond Organ from original member Peter Bardens on "Rhayader", "Rhayader Goes to Town" and in "Lady Fantasy", with the cameras sometimes being focused on him playing a solo and in other times not being focused on him while he was playing a solo. In these three songs, there are four keyboard players playing together with the band! Mel Collins also appears playing some sax solos in "Rhayader Goes to Town" and in "Fingertips" (with Latimer being out of the stage in this last song). Latimer also plays some flute in "Rhayader" and pan flutes in the "Stationary Traveller" album title song. All the members of the band played very well, and they looked very happy playing together, very well rehearsed.

Maybe some people don't like CAMEL's music from the eighties. But I really like it a lot. This band like other Prog Rock bands from the seventies had to change a bit their musical styles in the eighties to satisfy their record labels's inclinations towards more commercial Pop Rock arrangements for their music. Unfortunately, CAMEL never has been a very popular Prog Rock band like others (YES, Genesis, etc.) from the seventies despite doing all those changes to their music in the more commercial terms of the eighties. Despite their music became more accessible then it still retained a lot of quality and a lot of Prog Rock's influences, and fortunately their looks weren't very much influenced by the "look fads" of the eighties. Fortunately, they still appeared on stage looking like very good musicians playing their music very well without looking like some very commercial Pop Rock bands from the eighties (Duran Duran, Spandau Ballet, Culture Club, etc.).

R.I.P. Peter Bardens , Richie Close and Chris Rainbow.

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 Camel by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1973
3.95 | 1030 ratings

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Camel
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja

4 stars A killer debut from one of prog's best bands. Released in 1973, this was before Camel had fully developed their symphonic approach that would forge masterpieces like "Mirage" and "Moonmadness". More straightforward rock oriented than their later works, they still manage to chisel out a very solid album.

The album contains a mix of jazz, hard rock, and a stellar interplay between acoustic and electric sounds. Rockers like "Slow Yourself Down", "Separation" and the instrumental "Arubaluba" show that Camel could have gone into mainstream rock music had they felt to, but each of these songs still retains a degree of sophistication that keeps them in a category of a select few of the day's rock bands. "Slow Yourself Down" sounds as though it could have been a more mellow Deep Purple cut, with guitar and organ soloing that shreds like "Burn" or "Highway Star".

There is more progressive material on the album, too, and that is where the most magical moments lie. "Mystic Queen" and "Never Let Go" are both ballads that feature excellent acoustic and electric guitar, work from Andrew Latimer, as well as flute in the latter. "Six Ate" is a jazz rock instrumental not unlike something off of Caravan's "In The Land of Grey And Pink". Both "Never Let Go" and "Curiosity" are highlight tracks on the album, featuring some of Latimer's most beautiful solos. Altogether, the album is very consistent and there aren't any weak tracks.

I felt very tempted to give this album 5 stars, but I'll settle with 4 simply because Camel's other classics are just that much better in comparison. I'd highly recommend it to any prog fan and especially to those who weren't keen on Camel's more symphonic records but would still like to give the band a try.

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 Moonmadness by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1976
4.38 | 1808 ratings

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Moonmadness
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by Magnum Vaeltaja

5 stars The start of my love for Camel and still a shining star in their discography. While I was initially blown away by every last song on this album, some songs have lost some of their curb appeal over the years but others have become all the more magical.

As far as the general sound of the album, this is a perfect introduction to Camel as it highlights all their finest features. Mellow keyboard soundscapes, soulful lead guitar and lyrical flute leads from Andrew Latimer, a capacity to change from serene symphonic prog to more conventional rock and an overall focus on conveying emotion.

Starting with the album's weaker tracks, "Aristillus" is a nice but lacking opening, being just a short keyboard instrumental with little room to develop. "Spirit Of The Water" is a brief piano/flute/vocal number that isn't bad but certainly isn't memorable. Having brushed the album's 4 least interesting minutes aside, I can now address Moonmadness' stellar selections.

"Another Night" and "Air Born" are both 4 star tracks. "Another Night" is the album's most straightforward rock number and sounds very much like something off of the band's debut album. "Air Born" is a beautiful ballad with Andrew Latimer playing emotive flute leads and the band displaying strong symphonic pomp. These are both two very strong, memorable tracks but are overshadowed by the album's three true masterpieces.

The first of these is back on side one with "Song Within A Song". Beginning as a ballad, lush keyboard and flute soundscapes bring an emotive, melancholy start and eventually build in power and in tempo to a cathartic major key ending. "Song Within A Song" is then followed up by "Chord Change", perhaps the strongest instrumental in the Camel catalog. It opens with a fast, playful pace that soon slows down and changes mood to one of the most emotionally powerful guitar solos in prog. Andrew Latimer is absolutely stunning on this track and his playing is a complete catharsis, with aching string bends and chilling runs. Peter Bardens then responds with a wonderful synth solo before the band builds back up to the song's original pace for a dignified ending. The third masterpiece is the album's closing track, "Lunar Sea", which is quintessential Camel. Though it is slow to develop, its spacey, atmospheric textures and impeccable soloing are some of the finest in Camel's discography.

While "Mirage" may be Camel's most consistently strong album, "Moonmadness" still delivers, with all its peaks and valleys an essential listening experience and is a masterpiece of symphonic prog.

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 Nude by CAMEL album cover Studio Album, 1981
3.60 | 599 ratings

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Nude
Camel Symphonic Prog

Review by lazland
Prog Reviewer

4 stars With Nude, Camel moved into the 1980's with a wonderfully sophisticated set, containing beautiful sounding songs, taking full advantage, as with their better selling peers, of improved production techniques that had become available to the serious song writers and performers. I am one of those long term prog fans who rather welcomed this. I always liked my music to sound, well, sumptuous and full, and this album certainly delivers on that score.

The album is a concept one, not based upon life models, as the title suggests, but, rather, the fascinating phenomena of Japanese soldiers who either did not know, or refused to believe, that the war had come to an end, and carried on fighting in the most inhospitable places, sometimes for many years.

That this album was finished was, in itself, a story of dedication and fight, given drummer Andy Ward's chronic battle with depression and attempted suicide. It was to be his final album with the band.

Keyboard duties are taken by Latimer (assisted by Duncan Mackay), and a very fine job he does as well. His voice is as wonderful, deep, and feeling as ever, and there is a very real texture to the whole work.

This is an album I always enjoy revisiting. Indeed, Camel are a band who continue to provide listening pleasure, in whatever era or phase.

For those of you unfamiliar with the band's catalogue, or who are relatively new, owing to youth, to the delights of the classic English symphonic progressive rock bands, you could do a whole lot worse than an introduction to this fine band than this fine album.

It has it all. The trademark Camel instrumental passages, which never fail to keep your attention, and, mark my words, Latimer is one of the finest exponents of the electric guitar we have produced, dreamy tracks with rich vocal textures, overall symphonic layers, combined with a wonderful use of our favourite prog woodwind instruments, namely flute, and the marvellous Mel Collins, he of Crimson fame, on saxophone.

Come on in. The music is fine.

Four stars for an album which really should get far more attention than it does.

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